PASIG CITY (17 September 2021) — Despite challenges being faced by the national government in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the country has breached the 40 million mark in the total number of jabs administered.

According to National Task Force against COVID-19 Chief Implementer and vaccine czar Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr, this milestone was achieved way ahead of schedule, as the task force expected to achieve this figure by the end of this month.

“’Yung inaasahan namin na 40 million administration, ang projection namin is end of September. Nagpapasalamat po kami kay USec Myrna (Cabotaje of DOH) and Sec. Vince (Dizon of NTF), dahil talagang nahatak natin na makuha ng mas maaga ‘yung 40 million vaccination” Galvez said in an interview during the arrival on Friday of the latest shipment of Astrazeneca vaccines.

He said that the number of fully-vaccinated individuals in the Philippines is expected to soon breach the 20 million mark as the country’s vaccine rollout continues to gain momentum with the steady arrival of larger vaccine deliveries.

“And we are looking forward that by the end of September more than [20] million na ang fully vaccinated,” Galvez said.

As of September 16, the country has administered 40,518,845 vaccine doses nationwide, bringing the number of fully vaccinated Filipinos to 17,977,462.

Since the vaccination program began in March of this year, more than 22.5 million doses have been administered as the first dose.

The country’s daily average vaccination rate now stands at 421,606.

Vaccine rollout on track

“This is a testament that our vaccination program is on track and is continuously scaling up despite the multiple challenges we have faced in the past weeks” Galvez said..

“We have fully inoculated more than 23% of our 77 million target population and this serves as a source of inspiration to the task force, as well as the LGUs, and the private sector who have fully supported our vaccine program,” he added.

The vaccine czar said that as different regions and provinces have opened their respective vaccine rollout to A4 (essential workers) and A5 (indigenous people), the NTF expects a higher turnout in vaccination sites in the coming days.

He added that the task force and implementing units are working hard to address issues that have affected the pace of vaccination of the A2 (senior citizen) category.

As of September 16, only 4.2 million or roughly 51% of senior citizens have been fully vaccinated.

“While we have expected the general slowdown in the vaccination output especially with the divided attention of our local government units due to increasing COVID 19 cases, the distribution of amelioration packages, the implementation of stricter border controls, and addressing the impact of recent typhoons, our LGUs have handled the situation very well,” Galvez pointed out.

“There are so many challenges but we continue to carry on and we will make up for lost time,” he said.

According to Galvez, some LGUs have temporarily suspended their vaccination rollout due to typhoons in their areas.

Galvez noted that limited manpower has also affected the LGUs’ vaccine rollout, as healthcare workers have been redeployed to hospitals due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

“Nagpupursige po ang lahat na maipagpatuloy ang ating vaccine rollout kaya bagamat may bahagyang pagbagal noong mga nakaraang araw at linggo, hindi tayo titigil sa ating layunin na mabakunahan ang lahat ng mga Pilipino,” Galvez said.

Prep works for the inoculation of youth population

According to the chief implementer, the “vaccination tempo” for the National Capital Region (NCR) is nearing its “saturation point,” as the region’s fully vaccinated individuals how comprise 64.21% of its target population, while 84.09% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“We are looking at expanding the vaccine rollout to the younger population or those 12 to 17 years old in NCR. We are awaiting the recommendation of our vaccine and public health experts regarding this matter, but the NTF along with Metro Manila mayors, have started preparations for this expansion,” Galvez said.

“Mainam naming pinaghahandaan kasama ng MMDA at ng mga butihing mayors ng bawat lungsod sa Metro Manila ang mga susunod na hakbang para sa maayos at ligtas na pagbabakuna sa ating mga kabataan,” he added.

Galvez said that some LGUs in Metro Manila have opened their vaccination registration to this age group.

He said that once the national government has secured a sufficient supply of vaccines and gets the recommendation of health experts, the NTF will be ready to roll out the vaccination program to the younger population.

Vaccine supply for September

As of September 16, the Philippines has received a total of 58,208,810 doses. More than 6.3 million doses, consisting of Astrazeneca, Pfizer, and Sinovac vaccines, were delivered this month.

Galvez said that more than 34 million doses are expected to arrive this September from different manufacturers and sources.

Twelve million vaccine doses will be coming from Sinovac, five million doses from Pfizer, three to five million doses from Moderna, 1.1 million doses from Astrazeneca, one million doses of Sputnik Light, one million donated doses from a bilateral partner, and more than 10 million doses from the COVAX facility. END